School Climate & Safety

Ambassador Plan Faces New Hurdle

By Joetta L. Sack — March 22, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s plan to tear down most of the historic Ambassador Hotel and build schools on the site has run into new resistance, this time from advocates who say the hotel’s walls could hold clues about the 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

A lawyer for Sirhan Sirhan, who shot Sen. Kennedy in the hotel’s pantry just after the senator won the state’s Democratic presidential primary, says that new forensics tests could exonerate his client. Mr. Sirhan is serving a life sentence for the murder.

Skeptics have theorized that Mr. Sirhan was set up, that there was more than one shooter, and that authorities destroyed crucial evidence.

Lawrence Teeter, Mr. Sirhan’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court late last year to prevent the district from demolishing the hotel. That work was set to begin later this year.

Mr. Teeter said in an interview that he wants the LAUSD school board to commission acoustics tests, using any remaining structural elements, to try to determine the number and position of shots fired in the pantry. He said the district has denied him access to the building.

The Assassination Archives and Research Center, a private organization based in Washington, joined the petition because of potential historical ramifications, said its president, James Lesar. “I hope the court would realize there are questions not only of individual justice, but more importantly, there are unresolved questions as to whether there was a conspiracy to assassinate Senator Kennedy,” he said.

LAUSD officials said last week they were unable to comment on the pending case.

The school board approved a plan last October to tear down most of the structure, but reuse a coffee shop, nightclub, and ballroom ceiling. The board is assembling a committee to decide whether to preserve the pantry area.

Kennedy family members have supported the district’s plans and have called for demolishing the pantry.(“L.A. Board Votes to Raze Historic Building,” Oct. 20, 2004.)

The three schools that would be built on the plot of land are scheduled to open in 2008, but could be delayed because of Mr. Teeter’s petition, as well as other lawsuits that have been filed by historic-preservation groups.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Opinion How Do Restorative Practices Work?
Traditional punitive measures tend to reap more misbehavior.
13 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety What Helped These K-12 Leaders After School Shootings
School shootings leave deep and lasting impact on the community, including those charged with leading students and staff in the aftermath.
5 min read
School staff cheer as students returned to in-person classes at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, following a shooting on Oct. 24, 2022, that killed a student and a teacher. Kacy Shahid, then the school's principal, faced the challenge of guiding the school community through recovery as she struggled herself to process the events.
School staff cheer as students returned to in-person classes at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, following a shooting on Oct. 24, 2022, that killed a student and a teacher. Kacy Shahid, then the school's principal, faced the challenge of guiding the school community through recovery as she struggled herself to process the events.
Jim Salter/AP
School Climate & Safety Another State Will Let Teachers Carry Guns. What We Know About the Strategy
Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns with administrators' permission a year after the Covenant School shooting.
5 min read
People protest outside the House chamber after legislation passed that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People protest outside the House chamber after legislation passed that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee could join more than 30 other states in allowing certain teachers to carry guns on campus. There's virtually no research on the strategy's effectiveness, and it remains uncommon despite the proliferation of state laws allowing it.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Video WATCH: Columbine Author on Myths, Lessons, and Warning Signs of Violence
David Cullen discusses how educators still grapple with painful lessons from the 1999 shooting.
1 min read